Décor Books to Die For

kbb-best-decor-books

I wasn’t always that interested in decorating- sure, I liked nice things, but I guess I felt that decorating was reserved for those who had lots of spare time and money.

Then for whatever reason, I ended up with a copy of Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell. Everything felt so dreamy and ethereal and almost accessible (minus the incredible house) for someone like me with limited resources. I was totally hooked- frayed linens, frills and all.

Although my tastes have become a little varied over the years, I still try and hunt down her stuff every time I go into a used bookstore. Copies of her older books have become harder to find, so I was pleased when she came out with The World of Shabby Chic; I was starting to get hungry for more. What can I say? Old habits die hard.

It wasn’t until I started reading D.I.Y. blogs that I became more interested in what my own home looked like. I loved Jon and Sherry Petersik’s blog Young House Love and their subsequent book of the same name. I was so in love that I dragged my sister to the book signing when they came to Toronto and you better believe we fan-girled so hard. (I’ve already used up my fifteen minutes of fame posing for a photo with Sherry that ended up on their on blog.)

It was from their blog and other similar blogs of the time that I discovered (too late) the wonderful magazine that is Domino. Thankfully, it had since relaunched but until then I had Domino: The Book of Decorating to tide me over. Not only does it showcase some fabulous designs across a variety of styles, it’s also a great primer for those starting out on their decorating adventure. (There’s also a companion book here.)

Books are such a big part of my life that it’s hard to imagine not living with them. I think it was the type of audience author Alan Powers had in mind when writing, researching and photographing Living with Books. If you’re a bookworm too then you’ll find its gorgeous images of unconventional collections and libraries from around the world almost painful to look at. It’s probably one of my favorite books I own, period.

There are so many more decor books that I’d love to collect and peruse but limited funds and space limit my collection to only a few. While I’d love to draw inspiration from even more of the creative resources and guides out there, it’s kind of nice to restrict your purchases to the things you love so much you’ll revisit them again and again. Hopefully they can serve as a starting point for your own ideas on how to cultivate a home that is unique to you and your style.

KBwB-BFlower-50

I love to read and I love sharing my favorite books with you. (For more reading inspiration click here or here.) Don’t forget to friend me on Goodreads either! Btw: These lists are totally my own creation and I was not paid or perked to share my opinions with you by any author or publishing company.

If you’ve been bitten by the decorating bug, I may have something for that bite: click here for a quick tutorial on choosing the right paint color, here for the most productive ways to organize an office, and here for other projects and tips on keeping your home happy and organized.

Welcome to My Bookshelf

B's Bookshelf

I’ve long since given up on the idea of my bookshelves nearing perfection; every few months it seems like I’m rearranging the contents obsessively, albeit lovingly.

I used to think that books were just things to be amassed and collected but as my interests have waxed and waned over the years my library has shrunk and grown as well.

Which books do I choose to populate my bookshelves? Just about everything. As evidenced here, here, here and here (and one more time here) I have fairly eclectic tastes. And that’s just a small sampling. A few years back my sister introduced me to Goodreads as a way of tracking all the hundreds of books I’ve read throughout the years and to amass all of the titles on my impossibly long to-read lists. I still use it to track my reading activity religiously.

I’m fascinated with other people’s bookshelves, too. It’s not unusual to find me hiding out a party snooping other people’s collections. I can’t help it; I think one’s choice of reading material reflects highly on the type of person one is. By this logic my crowded bookshelf would suggest a person who’s kind of all over the place- and this representation wouldn’t be entirely wrong.

In the meantime, I’ve come to except my bookshelves as kind of a living, breathing organism that needs attention and care. They may seem cluttered and confusing to some people, but for me- for now- they’re just right.

KBwB-Flower-50

I’d love to take a sneak peek at some of your bookshelves. What changes have you made to it recently? Which changes do you refuse to make? Comment below or shoot me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. Looking for more book musings? Look no further than here.

10 Myths About Organizing

KBB_notebook_and_journalOrganizing is not about purging. I think a lot of people fear getting organized because they equate with parting ways with the things that they love. The opposite is totally true: organizing is about deciding what truly matters to you and cultivating a space filled with things you love and appreciate that contribute to your lifestyle.

Organizing is not about changing your system. It’s about improving your system so that it works better for you. ‘Nuff said.

Organizing is not about buying more gadgets. Just because your newly organized kitchen suddenly has space to house a new fancy juicer doesn’t mean it’s a reason to purchase a new fancy juicer. Sometimes a little blank space helps us to visually appreciate the things you already have. This, of course, does not apply if you were organizing your kitchen to make room for a fancy juicer (if fancy juice is indeed your thing).

Organizing is not about making over a space. Cosmetic changes to the aesthetic are one thing; a well-organized space is not only cosmetically pleasing because it’s clutter-free and carefully planned, it’s cosmically pleasing because it attributes to an easier workflow and a more enjoyable lifestyle.

Organizing is not about creating storage. I once had a client that I was helping move to a bigger space. She had talked about the transition for months; finally her boys were going to have enough space in their rooms for all of their toys. I agreed with her until I saw that each of her small children had bedrooms that rivaled the size of my apartment with giant, gorgeous built-ins along each wall. They were originally meant for toys; however, their new house came with a giant playroom in the basement where the kids spent most of their time. Empty cupboards meant that more clutter quickly accumulated and my client found herself in the middle of her original dilemma. It just goes to show that thoughtful editing and creative organizing are sometimes better solutions than creating more storage to house more things you don’t need or want.

Organizing is not about hiding things away. If you have cherished things that you love, display them! Do you relish looking at all of the piles of work you have to do? You’re a weirdo, but who cares? Leave them on your desk! Just as everyone has different tastes in décor, different people have a variety of organizing styles that lend themselves to a certain style or another. There’s no sense in changing your system just because you aspire to a certain look. (See Number 2.)

Organizing is not about upgrading. Just because you saw that super pretty double door fridge on Pinterest doesn’t mean you can’t organize the fridge you own currently. It’s great to have upgrading goals, but don’t use them as excuses to prevent yourself from improving your lifestyle before you improve your appliances or furniture.

Organizing is not about changing your habits. It’s about recognizing those habits and organizing your space to accommodate them. I’m normally a pretty neat person but as soon as I walk in the door I throw down my keys and they usually fall where they may. I’ve since left a pretty bowl on the shelf next to the door to collect all the shrapnel (like loose change and sunglasses) from my comings and goings throughout the day.

Organizing is not about making things pretty. Yes, organizing a room usually makes it pretty but you shouldn’t hold off on purging just because you don’t have a pretty box to put it in. Conversely, don’t fool yourself into thinking that buying even more pretty baskets and storage accessories will automatically make your space more organized- it can sometimes have the opposite effect.

Organizing is not about abundance. Giant craft rooms and majestic libraries are mouthwatering to look at, but aspiring to have these kinds of spaces can sometimes be unrealistic. I’d love to have drawers upon drawers of pretty pens or fancy baking supplies too, but having an organized space has allowed me to make peace with my reality and appreciate the things that I do have and love.

KBwB-Flower-50

I’ve got a flexible, highly personalized approach to my organizing that’s governed by these truths- now I want to know yours! Send them at me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com or comment below. Want to read more of my organizing thoughts? I’ve got a lot more that I’ve shared here.